MakeoverMonday: the price of your Christmas dinner

This is it! The FINAL MakeoverMonday of 2016. What a year it’s been. Thank you to everyone for making this project something exceptional.

Anyway – here’s my makeover. The light of the christmas star shines upon my data this week:

mm

If you celebrated Christmas yesterday, I hope you enjoyed the food. Did you consider how the price of all those parts of it have changed over time? I hadn’t, and the dataset was fun to explore.

Here’s a secret, I really wanted to make the one below my “official” entry to this week:

shining-down-from-above

I love the way it looks like rays of light shining down. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to make this the “official” one because when the slope lines are pointing down, you just can’t label the lines, which leaves you with a pretty viz but one without insight.

How did I get to this? This was one of the quickets Makeovers I did. Line chart, slope chart, % difference and then the idea for the star:

process

I’m full of turkey, and goodwill, so this week, I’m not doing any commentary on the original from the BBC.

Next week is a new year. We’re going to stop recording stats and updating the Pinterest board, but MakeoverMonday will continue with new datasets each week.

MakeoverMonday: DC Metro Scorecard

I had one goal this week: could I show all the measures in the space the orginal scorecard shows two?

metro-scorecard

The answer? Yes, and not just by using 6pt fonts!

Bullets are an easy way to see actual against a target, and they take up way less space than curvy bar charts. Missed targets are encoded twice: the bar is below the target reference line and the label is red.

One thing I don’t like about my approach is the arbitrary axis lengths. Some of the metrics are percentages, so you can set the axis range from 0-100%. That way the viewer can see three things:

  1. The actual value
  2. The distance from the target value
  3. How close actual/target are from perfection.

Where the metrics are values, how should you set the axis range? Look at the charts on the right hand side. They are all very different scales. Should I let the chart tool set the range automatically? If I do that, the bar or reference line will be right at the right hand edge of the view. Or should I artificially extend the axis, creating a nicer sense of white space?

The original

There’s lots to like about the original:

  1. There’s a thumbs up/thumbs down for good/bad performance. That makes it easy to identify which metrics are being met.
  2. The actual value is labelled in the centre of the circle.
  3. The targets are defined in text

The main thing to dislike is the curvy bars. They don’t add anything, other than a sense of colour and false excitement. Really, to fix this scorecard, all they’d need to do would be to flatten out the bars and shrink the layout.

[Note: the original was updated to fix an error in the color encoding of my makeover. Thanks to Clibo for pointing it out.]

 

MakeoverMonday: Safe States to Drive

best-state

This week’s original focusses on the worst states to drive in. It’s nearly Christmas so I wanted to turn that around and take a more positive approach: which state is the best. Turns out it’s Minnesota.

My makeover removes almost all detail (ie 49 out of 50 states!) but I decided after exploring the different metrics to focus on a single message: stay safe, rather than let people investigate the data in each state.

You can see that process in the GIF showing my exploration, below. I looked for correlations and patterns, but once I hit the map, I realised I wanted to focus on Minnesota, and spent about half my time getting the display just so.

Exploration followed by formatting
Exploration followed by formatting

The original

There are things to like in this week’s original:

  1. The colour bands are groups rather than every individual rank. It’s easier to identify a colour band representing 1-10 rather than trying to find the one ranked 6, for example.
  2. Maps make it relatively easy to find your state.
  3. They’ve labelled which is best and worst. Should 1 be “worst” state or “best”? They made a decision and labelled the legend.
  4. The small states have their own callout rectangles.

What don’t I like?

  1. I didn’t notice the “Next” button until writing up this blog. Turns out there are 3 charts, but I didn’t notice them.
  2. Choropleths distort values because one value covers large areas.

What has MakeoverMonday meant for you?

our-makeovers-summary-smaller
A selection of mine and Andy’s makeovers. Click for a much bigger version.

The 2016 MakeoverMonday project is coming to an end.*

How was it for you?

I want to know what your favourite week was, and why. What have you learnt? What have been your highlights (and lowlights)? What’s the effect been on your community? And the wider dataviz community?

I’ll be writing a post on tableau.com before Christmas so please share you reflections with me, in the comments, on Twitter, on your blogs, or anywhere else I’ll see them!

* What does “coming to an end” mean? Andy will continue to add datasets each week. However, as of the end of the year, we will cease to update the Pinterest board and the dashboard of statistics. We hope you all still continue!

AskAndy anything: resources

Andy Kirk and I did the 2016 #AskAndy anything webinar today. We hope you enjoyed it. Let us know your thoughts on Twitter using #AskAndy. This post contains the slides and links to the resources we shared.

What to buy a data geek for Christmas?

Possibly the most important question was one Andy Kirk asked: have you done your Christmas shopping yet? If not, you might want to check out the eagereyes holiday shopping guide.

Principles and Purpose of Dataviz

2016-12-08_13-25-01

The original: click here for the interactive

Chart Types and Techniques

Personal Development and Skills

The State of the Nation

MakeoverMonday: Global Flow of People

Click here for the interactive version
Click here for the interactive version.

I went super simple this week: all you can do in my viz is select a country and see where people went to. You can only see one origin country and I only exposed the most recent year.

The original chord diagram lets you see a very large amount of the dataset simultaneously.

The original: click here for the interactive
The original: click here for the interactive.

I used to dislike chord diagrams: too complex. really messy, incomprehensible. But then this chord diagram was presented at Graphical Web in 2014, and it changed my mind. Why?

  1. The designers took the time to explain how the chord diagram worked. Once you have worked out the mechanisms, the data pops out and becomes clear. Taking the time to read the instructions and learn how to read a chord diagram is time worth investing
  2. Chord diagrams require interactivity, and that’s fine. The initial state is an overhelming confusion of lines. Interacting brings it to life. Charts that require interactivity can still be valid.
  3. I do not believe there is another way to visualise flow that has so much detail. My own makeover this week is an admission of that: I’m using filters to show only a part of the data. Andy’s own makeover is a massive simplification of the dataset. It’s fine, as a matrix, but comes at the expense of detail, which the chord does contain. Almost all of this week’s makeovers show only a slice of the full data. Only the chord diagram allows you to access it all with ease.
  4. People shouldn’t shy away from complex charts. Chord diagams do not provide instant insight: you need to invest time to read it. That is not a reason to shy away from a chart. Alan Smith discussed this on the PolicyViz podcast: he explained why they used a chord diagram in the FT this summer, knowing it was a chart that needed time to digest. That’s well worth a listen.
  5. Chord diagrams cope with a range within your measures. Some countries have really huge numbers of people moving, while others have tiny. The outliers dwarf everything else when you encode with colour or length. I think width is a more successful encoding in this case.

I love the original chart. It’s visually striking, it’s engaging and there is a vast amount of detail available in one view, once you’ve devoted the time to learn how it works.